By Randall Roebuck
December 8, 2012
I grew up with Olympic National Park almost literally in my front yard. The rural neighborhood I lived in until I was 9 was just off of the Mount Angeles Road in Port Angeles, WA, and was overshadowed by Mt. Angeles itself. At that time, the Mt. Angeles Rd. was the main access to Hurricane Ridge, arguably the most visited spot in the entire park. When I was 9, my family moved closer in to town ... right behind the ONP Headquarters! I actually walked through that little piece of the park to and from school in 5th & 6th grade. That's how I became friends with my best life-long friend, whose father at the time was a teacher at the local high school, and a summer park ranger. When I finally was able to get my personal "dream job" as a seasonal ranger myself in 2010, and again in 2011, I was thrilled to be working in the park which I've always regarded as my own. As a seasonal ranger, however, I became more aware than ever before of the challenges faced by the National Park Service, nearly all of which are compounded by chronic underfunding. This past summer (2012) I was unable to continue as a seasonal due to a nearly $1 million shortfall in ONP's operating budget. Whether I ever get to work for the NPS again, I'll continue, as a private citizen, to support NPCA's ongoing efforts to advocate for our National Parks (that being the one thing the NPS, as a government agency, is not allowed to do under federal law).